Last season, our intrepid California Golden Bears traveled to Boulder, Colo., for a nonconference game against new conference foe Colorado. The Bears emerged with a memorable 36-33 overtime victory, a road win that looked good for Cal until we figured out how bad the Buffaloes were last year. But a win is a win, amirite?
This season, Cal does not play Colorado. At all. Not even in a nonconference game. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? The CGB crew rolls out the roundtable to discuss it.
TwistNHook: Let's take a look (in a book! reading rainbow!) at Colorado. We do not play them and they do not appear to be that good of a team. As usual, Cal misses potentially two of the worst teams in the Pac-12. So, yay.
Ohio Bear: The Pac-12 schedule blows.
Oh wait...we might have ourselves to blame for insisting on playing USC and UCLA from the South every year. How does that curse go? "May you get what you wish for."
(Well this roundtable took an awkward turn. That Ohio Bear dude needs to chill out. Or move. See more Colorado thoughts from CGB's fearless leadership after the jump.)
solarise: Paul Richardson at WR is Colorado's main weapon on offense. He is out for the season due to a knee injury. Embree will also be breaking in a new QB Jordan Webb transferring from Kansas. I'm going out on a limb and say that growing pains continue for the Buffaloes going into 2012.
Reliving last year's meeting between CU and Cal: OVERTIME!
TwistNHook: Based on Uncle Ted, Colorado is bad. They are dead last in his position ranking metric.
In the positions there, you can see that Miller rates Colorado with 0 "Great shapes" and 9 "we'll sees." That is NOT GOOD.
The only place where he rates them mediocre is at linebacker:
Colorado: Jon Major and Doug Rippy are a strong, experienced tandem and Derrick Webbalso is a returning starter. The only issue the Buffs have is the weakness up front might make life hard for their 'backers.
And it is great that we miss them this year! Based on Uncle Ted's rankings, we are missing the 10th and 12th best teams in the Pac-12 this year. Ai!
Ohio Bear: I remember Jon Major from last year's Cal-CU game in Boulder. That guy is a good player. I suppose the Buffs need a lot more just like him.
I continue to be surprised at how far and how long the CU program seems to be down. This is a program that won a national championship in 1990 and grew to a perennial power in the 1990s under Bill McCartney and then Gary Barnett. Since Barnett left, the fortunes have turned for the bad and haven't turned back around. With the football tradition there and the great campus, I would think that CU could bounce back.
This apparently is not the year for that. I wish Cal had a game against the Buffs this year.
norcalnick: Yeah, CU is in one of those weird years where they weren't good last year, and they seemingly lost what few good players they had anyway. If they had been recruiting well over the last few years there might be a case for optimism, but I don't think that's really been the case.
At least the Buffs still get to play games at altitude in Boulder. Three of their last four games are at home, so maybe if some young players can get some experience the team can gel enough to pull some upsets late in the year at home. I could see them knocking off UCLA or Arizona St., or maaaaaybe even UW or Utah in November.
Even then, a bowl berth would be a pretty significant step.
atomsareenough: Colorado was 3-10 last year, and I don't think they're going bowling this year. However, it is at least plausible that they could start the year off 3-0, (their first three games are Colorado State, Sacramento State, and Fresno State, though the game against the Bulldogs appears to be in Fresno). So that would get them halfway there. Let's see... things get slightly tougher once the conference season starts, but their first three games are against Wazzu, UCLA, and ASU, with the latter two in Boulder. They probably win 0-1 of those games, but they could maybe win 2. If they did that, then all they would have to do is beat Arizona at home later on in the season, and they'd get to 6 wins. Plus if the young players they have develop this year, they might even have a shot at UW or Utah at the end of the season, as norcalnick observes. That doesn't seem very plausible to me though.
So, in my opinion, they've got an outside shot at a bowl game, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's more like a 4 or 5 win season for the Buffs. Next year they also have a light non-con schedule, though, so if they take a step forward this year, they should be able to make a bowl game in 2013.
Frank Cohen: I feel pretty bad for Colorado fans, as I don't really see the team competing for a conference championship in the near future. (And, I must to admit that I was impressed by their fans' turn-out in Boulder last season and I applaud them for their efforts). I'm personally not entirely convinced that Embree is the head coach that will change their fortunes, but the jury is still out on him, obviously. The only thing standing between them and COMPLETE embarrassment will be, as stated above, the dreaded altitude in Colorado.
atomsareenough: Speaking of Embree, I have a friend who is a CU alum and has a strong feeling that Embree was not the right choice, and that offensive coordinator (and former Buffs star) Eric Bieniemy should have been made head coach after Hawkins was fired. Now, maybe that's just the opinion of one alum, but maybe some Buffs fans might want to chime in on that notion.
Kodiak: I was impressed with the gameplan that Bieniemy came up with to counter our blitz-happy D.
Or maybe I was just mildly amazed that he managed to scheme his way out of their O-line getting Marshall'd.
With Paul Richardson out for the year and a brand new QB coming in, I just don't see this is as a good year for the Buffs.
TwistNHook: Any final non-score prediction thoughts?
Ohio Bear: Colorado is messed up. Ralphie is a bison, not a buffalo.
unclesam22: It's pretty unfortunate that we miss them this year, but such is life as a Cal fan. It'll be interesting to see where this program does end up going as I think they had one decent year in like 2002 or 2003 where they were about the hottest team going at the end of the season and then got beat by the Joey Harrington led Ducks in the bowl game. I think that the right coach really could turn things around for them, but I just don't see Embree doing it.
(What do you think of Colorado, CGB? Tell us after the jump. And if you want to look back at any of the preseason roundtables, below are you links to those bad boys.)